Our ability to progress and achieve our goals, no matter what path we’re on in life, is determined by one crucial factor; our mental resilience.
Mental resilience is a phrase used more and more these days, particularly after the year we’ve just had, but tangible tools to help us actually build our mental resilience have been lacking in our education curriculums and society in general.
Until now! Our Pocket Mentor app provides us real life tools that are scientifically proven to build our ability to tackle mistakes head on and bounce back so we have the crucial skills needed to achieve and progress in our path.
This month we’re focusing on resilience and here our Pocket Mentor ambassadors share their stories of resilience and what they do to help build a growth mindset towards setbacks and mistakes.
What does resilience mean to you? And what does it enable you to do?
Resilience is about being able to try. To keep trying and know that with every attempt I will improve or succeed. It enables me to be brave, be curious and discover, because I know it might not work out every time but I am able to look for what I have learnt and how I can improve using my resilience.
Graham: Resilience, to me, is about being able to bounce back from setbacks, and (has I have often talked about) that armour that we build up to help protect ourselves from the realities of the adult world. This is not a negative perception on life, I don’t sit expecting things to go wrong. But I do consider alternatives to important actions or decisions, so that I am prepared. Linked to my struggles with big change, it is about not being in control. So even if something goes wrong, I need to still have an element of control over what comes next. I want to be armoured against disappointment, and be resilient to my reactions to change I am not in control of. I also learn from past choices and mistakes – not only to spot and ‘not’ make the same mistakes again, but also to know what comes next when things don’t go right. To know that I will bounce back, and often to just ride things out. It enables me to pick myself up quicker each time and learn.
Deepa: Resilience means to give anything a go even if you don't know whether you'll be able to accomplish it. It means taking a risk, stepping out of your comfort zone and into the unknown. Then regardless of the outcome you are able to handle it. You're able to rise from the falls, jump from wherever you are like a springboard! It enables you to tackle anything and build skills and shock absorbers as you go.
Which of The Pocket Mentor tools do you think helps most for building resilience - helping cope with a setback?
I like using Mindful Moments, it helps me focus so I’m less reactive when I need to be resilient. I can then use the ‘Today I…’ tool to remind myself what I have achieved or what actually went well. Graham: The Daily Thanks is a great way to remember that there are things in your life that remain, that are good, that you can rely upon, even when everything goes wrong. Alongside this also within the 5 to Thrive toolset is My Values, as this is a reminder to continue to be yourself even when times are tough, and to not allow events to define you, but to be defined my who you were before and who you want to continue to me. Deepa: I think the each of the tools play an essential part for building resilience. The mindful moment allows you to slow down and from that gain inspiration to take chances. The daily thanks allows you to be grateful for the opportunities when they present themselves. The affirmations allow you to pre-program your mind towards courage.
Is there an example of bouncing back from real life everyday mistakes you’d like to share - and how you overcame it.
Claire: Last Saturday I stood on a stage and sang Wind Beneath My Wings in front of 245 people. It was a duet so I had another beautiful singer on stage with me and the choir were backing us.
Rewind 18 months to when I first auditioned for the lead and you would see an extremely nervous individual that physically shook as she sang the audition, that was so far out of her comfort zone she felt sick, that had only ever sang in front of one other person on her own in her life (which is who had encouraged her to go for the lead in the first place) and who was seriously questioning why on earth she thought this was a good idea. Throw in a worldwide pandemic when choirs were totally closed and one of the last social hobbies allowed to re-open, and one of the leads dropped out so we had to learn extra parts with barely 6 weeks to practice, you have a case for a massive need for resilience!
This was not just my first lead, but my first show with the choir and my first time performing in front of an audience since I did my last Christmas Nativity when I was 9 years old! During those six weeks every time I sang in front of the choir I learnt something about my voice, I tweaked how I breathed, I sounded slightly better and felt more confident. Each time I shook a little less until eventually with every hug and kind word of encouragement I felt less nervous, with every mistake I built resilience and the courage to try again.
I wanted to sing it for my Dad, he’s my real life hero but I knew if I told any of my family it would make me more nervous so I kept it a secret. When I auditioned the song had meaning for me but recently my Dad has been diagnosed with cancer and all of a sudden the lyrics meant so much more, it was important to me to get it right.
On the night it was a huge success and me and my duet partner were complimented about a wonderful performance. I was nervous, there’s no doubt about that but the failed attempts, the incremental improvements and the determination to be resilient against the nerves so I could perform for my dad and family got me through…...and I absolutely loved performing it! Graham: Less a mistake but more a setback, the most obvious is what the whole world has been through in the past 2 years [COVID]. It has been tough on so many, and the world has changed forever, an every person has lost something in some way in that time. But throughout I have tried to make the best of it, spending so much more quality time with family, my daughter in particular, and in fact spending the time studying with her when schools were closed was one of the closest moments I have had with her in many years. It has not always been this way, but because of past times where I have not always put family first, I knew very quickly I wanted to use the time as best I could and made sure that all other priorities were second. To no over think, to put down my emails and devices and just be with those I love. It has paid off 10 fold!
I do believe everything happens for a reason. Even 'mistakes' are like keys or signs which direct us on the path we need to walk. We can accept the situations as they occur with little resistance and find the gratitude for that. This shines the light onto finding and focussing on the solutions and way forward.
For example, I once locked myself out the house without my house and car keys and ironically I was on the way to a yoga class. Instead of getting annoyed I accepted the challenge of running up the hill to get there, that was the warm up done! And even when I returned I just sat outside in the sunshine, getting some vitamin d and inspiration to practice meditation and write a poem.